Charitable contributions

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Michael F. Stemper

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Apr 5, 2021, 4:12:40 PMApr 5
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If a taxpayer makes a donation in excess of $50.00 to a 501(c)(3)
organization, it's my understanding that the organization is supposed
to document that donation in the following calendar year, by sending
a receipt to the taxpayer.

What specific regulation or law is that? I've spent some time looking,
but my searches have come up empty. Can anybody provide me with a
pointer to the relevant IRS page?

Thanks,
--
Michael F. Stemper
Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

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Stan Brown

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Apr 5, 2021, 6:02:47 PMApr 5
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On Mon, 5 Apr 2021 16:09:46 EDT, Michael F. Stemper wrote:
>
> If a taxpayer makes a donation in excess of $50.00 to a 501(c)(3)
> organization, it's my understanding that the organization is supposed
> to document that donation in the following calendar year, by sending
> a receipt to the taxpayer.
>
> What specific regulation or law is that? I've spent some time looking,
> but my searches have come up empty.

I think you came up empty because there is no such requirement. :-)

>From Pub 1771:

"A donor cannot claim a tax deduction for any single contribution of
$250 or more [N.B. $250, not $50] unless the donor obtains a
contemporaneous, written acknowledgment of the contribution from the
recipient organization.

"An organization that does not acknowledge a contribution incurs no
penalty; but, without a written acknowledgment, the donor cannot
claim the tax deduction."

"Although it's a donor's responsibility to obtain a written
acknowledgment, an organization can assist a donor by providing a
timely, written statement containing ..."

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1771.pdf

I found this by googling
"charitable contributions" receipt site:irs.gov

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Stan Brown, Tehachapi, California, USA https://BrownMath.com/
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Michael F. Stemper

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Apr 6, 2021, 9:48:45 AMApr 6
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On 05/04/2021 17.00, Stan Brown wrote:
> On Mon, 5 Apr 2021 16:09:46 EDT, Michael F. Stemper wrote:
>>
>> If a taxpayer makes a donation in excess of $50.00 to a 501(c)(3)
>> organization, it's my understanding that the organization is supposed
>> to document that donation in the following calendar year, by sending
>> a receipt to the taxpayer.
>>
>> What specific regulation or law is that? I've spent some time looking,
>> but my searches have come up empty.
>
> I think you came up empty because there is no such requirement. :-)
>
>>From Pub 1771:
>
> "A donor cannot claim a tax deduction for any single contribution of
> $250 or more [N.B. $250, not $50] unless the donor obtains a
> contemporaneous, written acknowledgment of the contribution from the
> recipient organization.
>
> "An organization that does not acknowledge a contribution incurs no
> penalty; but, without a written acknowledgment, the donor cannot
> claim the tax deduction."

I can't claim the deduction without a receipt, but the recipient has no
obligation to provide one? Amazing!

> "Although it's a donor's responsibility to obtain a written
> acknowledgment, an organization can assist a donor by providing a
> timely, written statement containing ..."
>
> https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1771.pdf

On page 2 of that document, above the bit you quoted, it also says:

"A donor cannot claim a tax deduction for any contribution of cash, a
check or other monetary gift unless the donor maintains a record of the
contribution in the form of either a bank record (such as a cancelled
check) or a written communication from the charity [...]"

The first clause of this ("[...] unless the donor maintains a record
[...]") seems to give me an out, since I maintain records of everything,
and my credit union can give me *a copy of* the check. Am I inserting
wishful thinking here, or does this allow me to claim it despite the
fact that the organization failed to give me a receipt?

> I found this by googling
> "charitable contributions" receipt site:irs.gov

I'll try to remember that syntax for the future.

Thanks,
--
Michael F. Stemper
87.3% of all statistics are made up by the person giving them.

Taxed and Spent

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Apr 6, 2021, 10:58:49 AMApr 6
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Yes, for charitable contributions LESS THAN $250.00 (i.e. $250.00
exceeds this threshold - stupid!) all you need is your records, such as
a cancelled check. And you can make multiple such gifts to a charity,
but I would recommend spreading them out over time a bit.

ira smilovitz

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Apr 6, 2021, 12:03:54 PMApr 6
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Almost all public charities routinely issue contemporaneous receipts for donations. The only common exceptions seem to be churches, synagogues, etc., which often issue an annual letter wherein they document all of the donations given over the past year. While the IRS "could" disallow such a deduction as not strictly meeting the documentation requirements, I'm not aware of any such case. (Admitedly, I've never gone looking for one either.)

Ira Smilovitz, EA
Leonia, NJ

Bob Sandler

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Apr 6, 2021, 6:39:18 PMApr 6
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>> >> From Pub 1771:
>> >>
>> >> "A donor cannot claim a tax deduction for any single contribution of
>> >> $250 or more [N.B. $250, not $50] unless the donor obtains a
>> >> contemporaneous, written acknowledgment of the contribution from the
>> >> recipient organization.
>> >>
>> > On page 2 of that document, above the bit you quoted, it also says:
>> >
>> > "A donor cannot claim a tax deduction for any contribution of cash, a
>> > check or other monetary gift unless the donor maintains a record of the
>> > contribution in the form of either a bank record (such as a cancelled
>> > check) or a written communication from the charity [...]"
>> >
>> > The first clause of this ("[...] unless the donor maintains a record
>> > [...]") seems to give me an out, since I maintain records of everything,
>> > and my credit union can give me *a copy of* the check. Am I inserting
>> > wishful thinking here, or does this allow me to claim it despite the
>> > fact that the organization failed to give me a receipt?
>> >
>> >
>> Yes, for charitable contributions LESS THAN $250.00 (i.e. $250.00
>> exceeds this threshold - stupid!) all you need is your records, such as
>> a cancelled check. And you can make multiple such gifts to a charity,
>> but I would recommend spreading them out over time a bit.
>> --
>
>Almost all public charities routinely issue contemporaneous
> receipts for donations. The only common exceptions seem to
> be churches, synagogues, etc., which often issue an annual
> letter wherein they document all of the donations given over
> the past year. While the IRS "could" disallow such a
> deduction as not strictly meeting the documentation
> requirements, I'm not aware of any such case. (Admitedly,
> I've never gone looking for one either.)

The annual letter does meet the requirements. Pub. 526, page
20 says the following.

"For the written acknowledgement to be considered
contemporaneous with the contribution . . . You must get it
on or before the earlier of:
a. The date you file your return for the year you make the
contribution; or
b. The due date, including extensions, for filing the
return."

Bob Sandler

Barry Margolin

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Apr 7, 2021, 9:11:00 PMApr 7
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In article <f2126145-5f7e-4058...@googlegroups.com>,
ira smilovitz <ira.sm...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Almost all public charities routinely issue contemporaneous receipts for
> donations.

Note that these receipts are often not detailed.

I frequently give donations of clothing and household items to Big
Brothers Big Sisters. When they pick up the box, they leave an
acknowledgement card that has blanks for the date and donated items. The
donor fills this in themselves.

Then again, my donations never even come close to the $250 threshold for
receipts, and I expet this is typical. 10-20 items of used clothing
usually adds up to $20-50, depending on the types and quality.

--
Barry Margolin
Arlington, MA

John Levine

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Apr 8, 2021, 10:46:51 AMApr 8
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It appears that Barry Margolin <bar...@alum.mit.edu> said:
>In article <f2126145-5f7e-4058...@googlegroups.com>,
> ira smilovitz <ira.sm...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Almost all public charities routinely issue contemporaneous receipts for
>> donations.
>
>Note that these receipts are often not detailed.
>
>I frequently give donations of clothing and household items to Big
>Brothers Big Sisters. When they pick up the box, they leave an
>acknowledgement card that has blanks for the date and donated items. The
>donor fills this in themselves.

In my experience, if you donate cash or securities, you get a receipt that
includes the value of the donation, because it is easy to determine. The value
of used clothes or household goods is totally subjective and it would be asking
for trouble for them to guess. So you get to decide how much trouble you want
by making your own estimate.

--
Regards,
John Levine, jo...@taugh.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. https://jl.ly

Adam H. Kerman

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May 3, 2021, 5:34:49 PMMay 3
to
Michael F. Stemper <mste...@gmail.com> wrote:

>If a taxpayer makes a donation in excess of $50.00 to a 501(c)(3)
>organization, it's my understanding that the organization is supposed
>to document that donation in the following calendar year, by sending
>a receipt to the taxpayer.

>What specific regulation or law is that? I've spent some time looking,
>but my searches have come up empty. Can anybody provide me with a
>pointer to the relevant IRS page?

In addition, the charity is substantiating that the donor received no
goods nor services in exchange and the entire amount is deductible.

When I write a thank you letter on behalf of a charity, I use this key
language suggested by Publication 1771:

Thank you very much for your generous contribution of $____, for
which no goods nor services were received in exchange. This will
help to [portion of mission statement], a cause that you believe in.

Please save this letter with your tax records. This letter
provides written acknowledgement to substantiate a charitable
contribution on your tax return.

Maria Ku

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May 5, 2021, 6:37:48 PMMay 5
to
>From IRS Pub 1771 page 2 https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1771.pdf:

Written Acknowledgment

Requirement

A donor cannot claim a tax deduction for any single contribution of $250 or more unless the donor obtains a contemporaneous, written acknowledgment of the contribution from the recipient organization. An organization that does not acknowledge a contribution incurs no penalty; but, without a written acknowledgment, the donor cannot claim the tax deduction.

Tom Russ

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May 6, 2021, 9:29:27 PMMay 6
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On Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at 3:37:48 PM UTC-7, Maria Ku wrote:
> >From IRS Pub 1771 page 2 https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1771.pdf:
>
> Written Acknowledgment
>
> Requirement
>
> A donor cannot claim a tax deduction for any single contribution of $250 or more unless the donor obtains a contemporaneous, written acknowledgment of the contribution from the recipient organization. An organization that does not acknowledge a contribution incurs no penalty; but, without a written acknowledgment, the donor cannot claim the tax deduction.

While there might not be an IRS penalty for not acknowledging a contribution,
as a practical matter it behooves charities to provide the written documentation
if they hope to get repeat contributions.
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